Singapore Air launches world's longest flight

Singapore Air launches world's longest flight

Singapore Airlines began the world's longest non-stop commercial flight on Monday, an 18-hour trip between Singapore and New York.

The 10,310-mile flight on an Airbus A340-500 over the Arctic shaves four hours off an existing service and marks the second non-stop flying record this year by Singapore's flag carrier.

In February, the government-controlled airline flew 16 hours between Singapore and Los Angeles, then the longest non-stop flight by a commercial airline.

Until Airbus began delivering A340-500s with longer wings and bigger fuel tanks, no commercial aircraft could fly as far as Singapore to New York, although Chicago-based Boeing has a competing model under development.

The carrier, which accounts for nearly three percent of Singapore's $93 billion-a-year economy, is facing mounting competition from budget airlines and a surge in fuel prices, which have put pressure on profit margins.

Singapore Air, whose market value of nearly $8 billion ranks second in the world behind Southwest Airlines, said the new service will increase its frequency to New York to 14 times weekly from 11.